Geoscientist and allied technologists who held a brainstorming session here recently on water management said, “Odisha is heading towards a major water crisis following construction of several barrages on Mahanadi by the Chhatisgarh government.

The state government has recently proposed to construct seven major barrages on Mahanadi and 22 additional weirs on its tributaries and branches.

The objective is to utilise the surplus water flowing into the sea for the purpose of drinking and irrigation. But this will not avert the crisis created by Chhatisgarh, said SGAT members (Society of Geoscientist and allied technology).

A river system needs to discharge certain amount of water into the sea to maintain the ecology of the river and the delta. The flow to the sea prevents the incursion of saline water into river system.

Therefore, the claim of Chhattisgarh government that Odisha is not utilizing the large volume of water flowing into the sea can not be fully justified from technical and ecological considerations said the SGAT.

The major concern arises out of decrease in water flow into Hirakud reservoir thereby affecting hydro power generation and substantial reduction in supply water to Bargarh and Sasan Canal Systems.

This is bound to adversely affect irrigation in the two fertile belts of the state and raising two crops, as was being done all these years will not be possible. Satkosia gorge and wild habitat in the sanctuary will be adversely affected. Bhitarkanika ecosystem along with crocodile population will be affected.

There is an urgent need to take up desiltation / dredging work in•Hirakud reservoir and other water bodies and reservoirs of Odisha, it noted. SGAT suggested construction of micro dams on rivers/streams in hilly tracts of the State, setting up of plants for desalination of sea water, water harvesting structures and massive plantation particularly along the banks of the rivers.

It also opined that the problem faced by Odisha cannot be satisfactorily resolved by Tribunals or by judicial intervention because decision by these agencies takes lot of time by which the crisis would have further aggravated.

Rallies and Dharanas will not be of any help. Water sharing between the neighbouring states and Odisha has to be sorted out by mutual discussion. The•session was coordinated by B K Mohanty, Advisor SGAT and Girija Mohapatra, Vice President. Several experts from Odisha and outside the state participated in the deliberations.